DDoS Attack Clobbers Battlefield 3 Servers

DDoS Attack Clobbers Battlefield 3 Servers

DICE says it's working around the clock to beat an ongoing denial-of-service attack against its Battlefield 3 servers.

If your recent attempts to play some Battlefield 3 have been thwarted by a message saying you've been disconnected from EA online, the odds are good that you're just one of many victims of a distributed denial-of-service attack that's been hammering the BF3 servers since at least the wee hours of May 8. "The current Battlefield 3 outages are a result of activity that appears to be aimed at overwhelming our back-end infrastructure," EA Community Manager Agent X explained on the Battlefield forums. "We are working on a variety of solutions to address this problem and are focused on resolution as quickly as possible."

Unfortunate, that effort doesn't appear to be going terribly well. "Despite our security measures, we have been working around the clock to mitigate the impact of an ongoing denial-of-service attack on our Battlefield 3 game infrastructure over the last several days," Agent X wrote in a follow-up nearly 20 hours later. "While the motives are unclear, the focus of the attack has been interference with network communications preventing access to multiplayer gameplay."

The good news is that no user data has been compromised; the bad news is that despite updates to Battlefield infrastructure servers, there appears to be no sign of the attack abating, as messages complaining about the inability to connect to the game continue to appear on the forum. DICE hasn't posted an update on the situation since last night, but did say in a tweet about an hour ago that it was continuing to look into the problem.

Source: Battlefield 3 forum

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Well, that's unfortunate...

I really would like to hear what there motives are for this. If it's something along the lines of, "associating with EA", then that'd be just pathetically petty.

But I'll have to see more before I can really have a strong opinion on the matter.

Odd target, indeed. Sure, its EA, but it seems to be a bit strange to target a game that actually is true multiplayer as opposed to simcity which was disguised as it. Maybe they're just hitting it because they can?

At least this time it's not because they didn't buy enough servers.

Don't players run their own servers? or are all BF3 multiplayer servers hosted by EA?

Andy Chalk:
If your recent attempts to play some Battlefield 3 have been thwarted by a message saying you've been disconnected from EA online, the odds are good that you're just one of many victims of a distributed denial-of-service attack that's been hammering the BF3 servers since at least the wee hours of May 8. "The current Battlefield 3 outages are a result of activity that appears to be aimed at overwhelming our back-end infrastructure," EA Community Manager Agent X explained on the Battlefield forums. "We are working on a variety of solutions to address this problem and are focused on resolution as quickly as possible."

It should be noted that this did in no way just start in the last 24, or even 48, hours. There were a variety of problems with the back-end servers starting around the 4th, and they have become progressively worse in the last few days. Initially these issues manifested as server drops and crashes when servers attempted to update the games information to any EA server, it threw out a variety of errors and disconnected all active clients (including local ones) then required a manual restart. This didn't fix the issue, it just moved it to one side.

So while they may claim this is new information, or at least information that has come to light within the last 48 hours, it isn't. When these issues were initially presented by many different people from different regions running servers for BF3 it was deemed an error on their part, despite the evidence to the contrary, and ignored until whatever was happening became so persistently bad that it made connecting to a server, not just successfully completing one round on one, a 1/7 chance at best.

Their recent efforts have made game connection more stable but servers themselves can still go down at a moments notice due to being unable to properly communicate with EA/Dice's own networks.

synobal:
Don't players run their own servers? or are all BF3 multiplayer servers hosted by EA?

Players run their own servers. However for your server to appear on the battlelog you need it to communicate with EA/Dice's own servers in a variety of ways from ensuring that only registered and verified users can play on your server to allowing for people to actually progress through achievements and unlocks then have those reflected in their profile, you're even required to send a auth code prior to loading maps to... eh... prove that you can load maps.

EDIT: Current conspiracy theories among people running servers is that this is all a result of a series of hotfixes made to their auth processes around two weeks ago to help them deal with people using the origin bypass and prevent modded servers from slipping into the battlelog lists (or indeed be available for connection at all).

synobal:
Don't players run their own servers? or are all BF3 multiplayer servers hosted by EA?

All PC Bf3 servers save a few are privately hosted. Uninformed people please take this moment to be informed. I don't know about consoles. I think it's sad that some people take enjoyment from messing with other people's free time.

Oh thank goodness, I thought it was something to do with my connection and was getting REALLY annoyed with the repeated disconnects, was reminded of the early BF3 Origin days when I felt like murdering EA.
Especially with the badly-timed disconnects, i.e. when you're the heli pilot with 3 others and the suddenly the 3 others realize that the pilot either bailed or nodded-off :P

Hope they get this resolved.

The argument against always-on loads another round...

OT: I thought BF3 used private servers, at least in part. How would private servers be affected by this attack? Does traffic still get routed through some DICE infrastructure for private servers or is this an incredibly well organized DDOS that took those down as well?

Or is is just DICE's servers that are down? In which case it doesn't really seem like that big a blow (although I don't play this game so I'm not sure what the proportion of different servers is).

Edit: Looks like my questions were answered while I was writing.

I was wondering when someone was going to actually punish DICE for outright lying to their customers.

Just three years ago, DICE promised to *never* charge for Battlefield maps, and then released BF3 not long after, and charging for maps.

Assuming that's one of the factors (and it certainly is infuriating enough to be), I can't say that I feel much sympathy for both the players supporting developers that lie to them (teaching publishers that they can do whatever the hell they want to consumers with no backlash whatsoever because we're spineless) and DICE/EA themselves.

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/241306/dice-well-never-charge-for-battlefield-maps/

image

And this ladies and gentlemen is why restricting your game to just one online service is a terrible, terrible idea X3

Sir Shockwave:
And this ladies and gentlemen is why restricting your game to just one online service is a terrible, terrible idea X3

This has been shown to affect players using the Origin bypass. Furthermore given the nature of the problem even if BF3 was available through Steam and available as a stand-alone the servers would still be suffering from the same issue.

I have the suspicion it's a disgruntled customer, either someone EA burnt with their BF3 server or someone burnt over BF4 being released so soon (or another EA game). Either way it's an intensive attack for it to be anything other than personal.

Johnson McGee:
The argument against always-on loads another round...

OT: I thought BF3 used private servers, at least in part. How would private servers be affected by this attack? Does traffic still get routed through some DICE infrastructure for private servers or is this an incredibly well organized DDOS that took those down as well?

Or is is just DICE's servers that are down? In which case it doesn't really seem like that big a blow (although I don't play this game so I'm not sure what the proportion of different servers is).

Edit: Looks like my questions were answered while I was writing.

All servers, even private ones, have to go through a DICE/EA one to show up on the game list and to allow players to join. This is so leveling can work, cheating is limited and pirates are kept away (something EA obviously likes).

Edit: Just noticed your last part lol

I'm wondering whether this whole "DDOS attack" claim is just horseshit. I've been experiencing random disconnects and "something went wrong" errors for over a month now, as have other people. Either EA are extremely lax in keeping their security up-to-date, or they're outright lying about the attack.

I don't know if its true, but I heard that the attack is some kind of retaliation after recent massive ban-wave. EA (finally) managed to ban most of hackers using tools from hacking pay-sites, which probably resulted in severe money loss for those sites. In theory it explains pretty well the nature of the attack but still I don't understand why someone would target object that harm players more than the company.

Mortis Nuncius:
Well, that's unfortunate...

I really would like to hear what there motives are for this. If it's something along the lines of, "associating with EA", then that'd be just pathetically petty.

But I'll have to see more before I can really have a strong opinion on the matter.

Eh, I've played some MMOs over the years that have been hit with DDoS attacks for petty shit. Most of them were free to play now that I think about it...

Bugger. I was hoping to play some BF3 in about ten hours. As always I claim Hax.

Mortis Nuncius:
Well, that's unfortunate...

I really would like to hear what there motives are for this. If it's something along the lines of, "associating with EA", then that'd be just pathetically petty.

But I'll have to see more before I can really have a strong opinion on the matter.

Lets face it the majority of ddos attacks are for extremely petty reasons. Its probably somebody who was butt hurt because EA banned them for hacking.

chadachada123:
I was wondering when someone was going to actually punish DICE for outright lying to their customers.

Just three years ago, DICE promised to *never* charge for Battlefield maps, and then released BF3 not long after, and charging for maps.

Assuming that's one of the factors (and it certainly is infuriating enough to be), I can't say that I feel much sympathy for both the players supporting developers that lie to them (teaching publishers that they can do whatever the hell they want to consumers with no backlash whatsoever because we're spineless) and DICE/EA themselves.

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/241306/dice-well-never-charge-for-battlefield-maps/

image

DICE "lied" after they "promised" that they'd never charge for maps? That's absolutely adorable. The very post you linked to has the quote that Mr. Bach didn't ever want to charge for maps, and they insisted to EA that it was crucial for the games' success. (I agree with him wholeheartedly; I haven't bought map-packs for MW3 nor Halo: Reach, and can't play with some of my friends at times.) But when it's EA that holds the purse-strings, who do you think has final say in the matter?

the doom cannon:

synobal:
Don't players run their own servers? or are all BF3 multiplayer servers hosted by EA?

All PC Bf3 servers save a few are privately hosted. Uninformed people please take this moment to be informed. I don't know about consoles. I think it's sad that some people take enjoyment from messing with other people's free time.

Are they really privately hosted, in the true "server in someone's basement" sense of the word, though? I remember a lot of noise being made at the time of release about how the only way to get a "private server" was to rent it from EA, you couldn't just use a server app and run it on your own computer.

the doom cannon:

synobal:
Don't players run their own servers? or are all BF3 multiplayer servers hosted by EA?

All PC Bf3 servers save a few are privately hosted. Uninformed people please take this moment to be informed. I don't know about consoles. I think it's sad that some people take enjoyment from messing with other people's free time.

you can rent out servers for the console.

still EA servers, but you can choose your server location, custom rules, and map rotation.

of course, make any logical rules and ban people from your server and you will lose server access.

Arent there supposed to be security measures for servers to prevent things like DDoSing? Why haven't there been more reports of DDoSing of online games when streamers have to deal with this shit all the time? Wouldn't people who DDoS prefer the bigger fish for their shits and giggles rather than being relegated to fuck with a single individual?

valium:
Arent there supposed to be security measures for servers to prevent things like DDoSing? Why haven't there been more reports of DDoSing of online games when streamers have to deal with this shit all the time? Wouldn't people who DDoS prefer the bigger fish for their shits and giggles rather than being relegated to fuck with a single individual?

The problem is you cant actualy solve a DDoS attack without shuting down the server. If you have enough people repeat the most computational taxing action at the same time it might have to lock people out to meet those requests. Some bot farms are composed of hundreds of thousands of compromised computers. Either hacked or cordinated together.
A good example would be when some famous people ask their fans to go on a web site on a exact time. I think the Gears guy did that once on twitter for the lulz.

MJpoland:
I don't know if its true, but I heard that the attack is some kind of retaliation after recent massive ban-wave. EA (finally) managed to ban most of hackers using tools from hacking pay-sites, which probably resulted in severe money loss for those sites. In theory it explains pretty well the nature of the attack but still I don't understand why someone would target object that harm players more than the company.

EA doesn't do most of the banning, that is done by PunkBuster, the service they use. Some generous people bought hacks and then gave them to the PB staff so that they could take action against them.
Not that EA doesn't ban at all (they do) but the banning of hacks and cheats and other crap is usually done by Punkbuster.

Owyn_Merrilin:

the doom cannon:

synobal:
Don't players run their own servers? or are all BF3 multiplayer servers hosted by EA?

All PC Bf3 servers save a few are privately hosted. Uninformed people please take this moment to be informed. I don't know about consoles. I think it's sad that some people take enjoyment from messing with other people's free time.

Are they really privately hosted, in the true "server in someone's basement" sense of the word, though? I remember a lot of noise being made at the time of release about how the only way to get a "private server" was to rent it from EA, you couldn't just use a server app and run it on your own computer.

For PC, EA has very strict requirements for the servers that outside companies can run, like gameservers for example. I know my clan's server box could easily handle another 256 players but EA rules say we can't run that many people on a single box. So I guess it's not 100% public, but most of the servers for PC are not rented from EA

laserwulf:
DICE "lied" after they "promised" that they'd never charge for maps? That's absolutely adorable. The very post you linked to has the quote that Mr. Bach didn't ever want to charge for maps, and they insisted to EA that it was crucial for the games' success. (I agree with him wholeheartedly; I haven't bought map-packs for MW3 nor Halo: Reach, and can't play with some of my friends at times.) But when it's EA that holds the purse-strings, who do you think has final say in the matter?

I agree with you here, but mostly because I still want to believe that DICE care about the player base. I'm not happy about BF4 though. BF3 still has plenty of life left in it, and it's not time for a new main series battlefield game yet. Bad Company 3 I'd be happy to see, but not BF4.

Techno Squidgy:

laserwulf:
DICE "lied" after they "promised" that they'd never charge for maps? That's absolutely adorable. The very post you linked to has the quote that Mr. Bach didn't ever want to charge for maps, and they insisted to EA that it was crucial for the games' success. (I agree with him wholeheartedly; I haven't bought map-packs for MW3 nor Halo: Reach, and can't play with some of my friends at times.) But when it's EA that holds the purse-strings, who do you think has final say in the matter?

I agree with you here, but mostly because I still want to believe that DICE care about the player base. I'm not happy about BF4 though. BF3 still has plenty of life left in it, and it's not time for a new main series battlefield game yet. Bad Company 3 I'd be happy to see, but not BF4.

You have to realize that the Battlefield series has been annual. It's just disguised by the names. Here's a link to the wikipedia article for battlefield, it has a list of release dates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlefield_(series)

the doom cannon:

Techno Squidgy:

laserwulf:
DICE "lied" after they "promised" that they'd never charge for maps? That's absolutely adorable. The very post you linked to has the quote that Mr. Bach didn't ever want to charge for maps, and they insisted to EA that it was crucial for the games' success. (I agree with him wholeheartedly; I haven't bought map-packs for MW3 nor Halo: Reach, and can't play with some of my friends at times.) But when it's EA that holds the purse-strings, who do you think has final say in the matter?

I agree with you here, but mostly because I still want to believe that DICE care about the player base. I'm not happy about BF4 though. BF3 still has plenty of life left in it, and it's not time for a new main series battlefield game yet. Bad Company 3 I'd be happy to see, but not BF4.

You have to realize that the Battlefield series has been annual. It's just disguised by the names. Here's a link to the wikipedia article for battlefield, it has a list of release dates. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battlefield_(series)

That Wikipedia article is counting expansions as full games, though. From Battlefield 1942 to Battefield 2142, there were only three actual games released, the other eight items on the list were expansion packs. Even since then, it's mostly been expansions and weird spinoffs, like Battlefield Heroes and Battlefield Play 4 Free, and not major titles in either the main series or the Bad Company spinoff, which is at least a AAA standalone instead of an f2p spinoff. Then again, even an early 2014 release for BF4 is a little over two years from the initial release, since BF3 came out in late 2011. That's actually pretty well in line with the other titles in the series, although it certainly /feels/ too soon. Probably because we had 2142, the Bad Company games, and all the other smaller titles in between 2 and 3.

Edit: Just realized, you're the same person who answered my question about the servers. It's still not exactly in keeping with the spirit of PC gaming and dedicated servers, but it's a heck of a lot better than the initial rumors.

 

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